I want to use the classic dragons keep long ass incomprehensible names (ex. Voaraghamanthar). Also I would like to know why the great wyrms keep their bizarre names a secret and go by aliases.
And if I am playing in a world where magic is EXTREMELY rare, why should a dragon even bother keeping a secret name?
Back when the first Forgotten Realms came out (late 1E), I made a young blue dragon named Arcomanxiohergramin (or Arcomane, for short). That dragon has some of the best staying-power around, as she has gone through 1E, 2E, 3E, and is now very much alive and well in 4E as an Ancient blue dragon who controls a huge area of Icewind Dale.
She had a small cult of followers that started in early 2E (when she reached adulthood) that has now grown to one of the largest dragon-cults in my FR games. She has survived turf wars with red dragons and white dragons, a brief mix-up with a dracolich, an infestation of displaced demons, and dozens of adventuring parties. She had the nerf-bat taken to her pretty severely for 4E (as did all dragons), but she still holds her own and hasn't even come close to being killed yet (well...close is a relative term, isn't it?).
In other words, I have absolutely no good answers for your questions, but felt like sharing a dragon-story for the sake of doing so.
Methinks Hocus-Smokus is trying to get his post count up to 5k :P
Seriously though, was Arcomanxiohergramin known only to her? Or did she keep it a secret?
The longer and more arcane (and secret) the name, the less likely a truenamer can successfully pronounce it. Dragons are paranoid and don't like to take chances, even on low-magic worlds.
I handle dragon names for the same reason that ChrisTheS described: the existence of true names. In my game world, I have it flavored that extremely long-lived species are much more protective about their true name than a shorter lived race like a human would be. Dragons are very much static in a large sense, often remaining the same over the course over hundreds of years. That's not to say that dragons don't change, they can, and do, but it's at a much slower rate. A true name is intrinsically tied to one's sense of self, thus, dragons guard their true names far more vigilantly than other beings do, sense a human's sense of self is constantly changing, even though their name might remain the same.
Basically, what I'm trying to say is, I use names like Jim Butcher does in the Dresden Files series. So all of my dragons have their actual name, which is the usual twenty-letters-or-more, as while as a shortened form of it, or else a nickname or title that they find amusing. This is why I have dragons named Razorthorn and Nalliyatirieldurmielashtar, in the same world (she goes by Nalliya, in common conversation.)
If you're in a low magic world... I suppose you could easily come up with any number of reasons why a dragon would guard their name. Perhaps it's simply a matter of pride; a dragon considers it a grave insult to have their actual name spoken by lesser beasts, so a dragon that isn't known by some title or alias loses prestige, maybe. Maybe it's part of dragon psychology; to have a being's name is to wield some measure of power over it, even in a nonmagical sense, which is something that dragons cannot tolerate. There's a lot you can do with it, really; personally, I'm growing more and more partial to the arrogance aspect, which I might just introduce into my game world now that I think about it. Hmmm.
Ya I like that a lot Xan.
What I think I will do is have rituals be uber powerful against true names on epic creatures. But since there is hardly any magic the name thing has devolved into an arrogance thing combined with a security mentality.
to borrow from terry pratchett on vampires: they get bored. If you live for a few hundred years, eating maidens, roasting knights, sitting on piles of gold, you would make your name longer too.
My other theory about long dragon names is it designates how senior they are (dont remember what book this is from, but it is from one). When you are born you get a one syllable name. The next milestone you reach (no longer a hatchling) gains you another syllable, and so on. The ones powerful enough that we have heard of them are already very wise and old, and so have long names. They understand mortal races find their names... difficut and so shorten them for ease.
Yeah, there used to be a True Name thing, but it never really made any sense and felt tacked on. Back in AD&D the biggest, baddest dragon (Ancient Huge Red) would get spanked pretty hard, and subdued by a solo 10th level (or less) fighter or a party of 7th level characters. But they were paranoid about an 18th level mage that could turn them to dust with a wink and a nod would know their true name. Right.
Well I only started D&D in 4e. I have only heard tails of the old days.
I name dragons, chuck, frank, john, bob and stuff like that. I'm not gonna spend a month stringing gibberish together to make something that sounds kinda like a name. Actually I give them names that PEOPLE call them, as "MY" dragons never tell you their real names and generally when asked their names, reply, "you may call me lord or master if you wish." Unless it's a friendly dragon, in which case they give you the company line of, "your mortal mind cannot comprehend the complex and intricate pronunciations of my name, Simply call me fred."
Infernaltatersaladusranchdressingwithsteakneggsmaxus..... Bob works just fine.
 Funny enough, spell check found no misspelled words....
For blue or black dragons.
For a green, red, black, or white dragons.
For green, white, or red dragons.
Well, the young green dragon my players just offed was called Velox. He was overconfident, and they were insistent on fighting him. [His job was to test anybody who wanted to see the mysterious master smith Terios]
I cast REZ! Because making a new thread would be lamer.
I have to name 10 red adult pact dragons.
I like the syllables added for experience or milestones. However, the closest I have come to finding a name generator is www.rinkworks.com/namegen/
Where I use the template svsvsvsv
So I got ten names out of it:
But they are only adults so I thought maybe just svsv would be better.
The game is play by post, so I will let the players keep track of their dragons rather than put way too much infor for what might just be ignored.
More like Animate Thread, lol.
But it's interesting, so I'll put in my 2 cp.
I use an old convention when naming my dragons, and that is for the names to start with the first 2 letters of the color's latin name or first 2 letter of a variant color (for Chromatics) and the first 2 letters of a Metallic Dragon's name to be the symbol on the periodic table (for non-alloy metallics).
Green - Verde - Vercinatres
Blue - Azul (or Azure, if you prefer) - Azaggerax
Black - Negro - Nephyltaril
Red - (here I prefer to use variant of red, such as Scarlet) - Scajjothelet
You get the idea.
Metallic names would be:
Copper - Cu - Cutharnarian
Gold - Au - Aureleturel
Silver - Ag - Ageriathecen
Alloy dragons would require a little more creativity.
This is actually a very cool thread. I don't see why it didn't last longer. We have less creative discussions *looks at the is there Roleplaying in 4e thread* threads than this.
Sadly I'm not very good with Dragon names. But back towards the original poster I think a dragon would protect his true name under any circumstances, even from other dragons (well actually especially other dragons). But TrainedChimp gave me and Idea to make dragons based off the entire Periodic table... A Uranium Dragon would be cool, it could give of radiation and cause radiation poisoning to anyone within 100 feet. And its breath weapon could be a blast of nuclear power, like a mini nuke going off.
I tend to both ascribe to the True Name concept, in that dragons keep long, slightly incomprehensible names that often grow as they get older due to the fact that their names have some measure of power over them, and they therefore want them to be unpronounceable by any humanoid tongue, and also to the theory that dragons simply hold such things as a pride factor. Longer the name, the longer you've been around, the more power and prestige you hold in the dragon world. Furthermore, many of my campaign world's dragons came by their titles as a result of human(oid) reaction, so it's often something they didn't intend upon. Also, some of them simply prefer having an alias that lets them move in human circles, should they choose, I imagine.
In my game setting, I have four dragons I've detailed out (though there may be more noteable dragons in my world; I just haven't come up with them), mostly because they were what came to me at the time. Their names tend to fall into one of two categories: an actual "dragon-y" name, or some sort of title, often implied to be in some long-forgotten tongue that has been out of use for so long that most don't know the meaning of it, and therefore assume that it is the dragon's proper name. Most of the dragons don't care to discourage it, or they simply would point out--in the case of the chromatics--what that title means, in order to further their self-aggrandizement.
There's Sang Vermiel, a red dragon of fairly old age who's settled into a comfortable relationship with the people of a castle-city now named for him, because he has taken to extorting a massive tithe of food, treasure, and what-have-you from the citizens in favor of him not eating them. Think of him as a mafia boss in dragon's clothing, as it were. This is more a title than a proper name--a combination of the French word for blood, and a sort of mangling of the terms "vermeil" and vermilion--implying both blood red and a sense of "blood money". He's old, set in his ways, and doesn't care to put out much effort unless he has to. And with an entire city all too happy to do what he wishes under threat of having their crops burned, their livestock (and possibly families) devoured, and their city demolished, he doesn't have to do much of anything but sit around and watch his hoard grow. He doesn't have to worry about keeping his True Name hidden, because more folks fear his title at this point.
Next is Asketanaraisha, a silver dragon who's better known as Raisha. She is a sort of mother-hen type, who finds humans and other such beings fascinating in their absolutely deuced determination to do things that could likely get them killed. She's quite willing to help travelers where she can, for the right price, and on the promise that they'll return to tell her what became of their strange plans to do...whatever it is they were setting off to do. She's chatty, a bit fussy, and has a sort of empty nest syndrome, as her only offspring is off doing gods only know what somewhere far away from her. In her case, the name shortening is only for the sake of making her name easy to pronounce, as well as keeping it from being readily known to those who might use a True Name against her.
Then there's Tefydarian, the young copper dragon who tends to wander the world masquerading as an Elf Bard. He's more often known as Fidarian, with a completely different pronunciation than the fragment of his draconic name (Fih-dar-ee-an, as opposed to Teh-fie-dar-ee-an), and he likes the anonymity of it. It lets him find out more things of interest, and keep abreast of the goings on in the world, if people are unaware they're speaking to a dragon. For him, it's all about hiding in plain sight, as opposed to anything mystical.
And then there's the resident terror of my campaign world, one Xzeviticus Galloreiin. A black dragon who's quite likely the oldest dragon in the world, and the most sadistic, cruel, downright foul beast you'd ever meet. He's also actually a hybrid of red and black dragons, as I tend to ascribe to a belief that dragons are a rare thing, and thus chromatics can interbreed, as can metallics, and the resultant offspring has the appearance/breath weapon of one parent, but might have traits/mannerisms of the other. Xzeviticus has the red dragon tendency toward meglomania and the like, in spades. He's also quite arrogant, though with good reason--he's gotten and kept his power by being both cunning and powerful, treacherous and brutal. He knows when it's best to simply kill someone outright, or when they might be useful to him if they remain alive. He's an incredibly well-studied mage, but also is willing to disguise himself as a warrior of great physical prowess, such that no one expects his mystical might. He's also quite the tyrannical brute; mispronouncing his name is grounds for getting bitten in half, though he'd never lower himself to the savage practice of devouring someone for it. Such things are for those oafish, bestial white and blue brutes, in his mind. His name is actually nearly unpronounceable by human tongue, requiring a great amount of hissing and growling to be said properly; no one's sure where the name originates from, but it means "Destroyer of Worlds" in some long-lost tongue. He has no care for what one might do with his True Name, nor does he use his title for any sort of implications of power. All fear the mere mention of him, for that name has been passed down from antiquity as a thing of terror.
I imagine that a low-magic setting would be any number of such things. Maybe there's just a draconic custom of lengthening the name for every decade/century/stage of life. Maybe it began as a practice against True Name-based rituals, though these rituals might actually have been lost to the sands of time. Nonetheless, the dragons remain steadfast in adhering to this practice, be it out of habit or for fear that someone may find the spells again. That said, you could also go the way of giving the dragons titles and other names, as something that other races use to either show that these dragons inspire great fear, foster great hope, etc., or as a way around some unpronounceable stew of draconic.
I name most dragons either with traditional suffixes (-s, -x, etc.) or with the Elder Scrolls dragon language. The latter is more interesting since I can incorporate aspects of the dragon itself into its name - my players once fought a Dracolich named Vulqethkulaan, which literally means "Dark Bone Prince".
Dragons in the campaign I'm currently in: Borastion, Cyan Bloodbane, Apopholiat (Or as our wizard calls her, Apocalypsogonorrheasyphilis), Zatairak. Only one of these is a true name. Can you guess which one?
And some examples of names:
Direct translations rarely make sense in any language; it's better to pick something from a language that's already there.
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